This is a revised and expanded edition of Kac's original introduction to algebraic aspects of conformal field theory, which was published by the AMS in 1996. The volume serves as an introduction to algebraic aspects of conformal field theory, which in the past 15 years revealed a variety of unusual mathematical notions. Vertex algebra theory provides an effective tool to study them in a unified way.In the book, a mathematician encounters new algebraic structures that originated from Einstein's special relativity postulate and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. A physicist will find familiar notions presented in a more rigorous and systematic way, possibly leading to a better understanding of foundations of quantum physics. This revised edition is based on courses given by the author at MIT and at Rome University in spring 1997. New material is added, including the foundations of a rapidly growing area of algebraic conformal theory. Also, in some places the exposition has been significantly simplified.
Preface Preface to the second edition Wightman axioms and vertex algebras Calculus of formal distributions Local fields Structure theory of vertex algebras Examples of vertex algebras and their applications Bibliography Index.